It wasn't always that way. When the city was first established in the eighteenth century, the population lived in the higher areas of land along the river which was built up naturally by silt raising the land over time and other parts of the city that were not in the swamp. But as time went on and the city grew, those swamps were drained and housing developed, followed by the levees which were designed to protect those properties from waters of Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. Sadly, it hasn't worked very well and flooding and property life becomes a way of life, particularly in some of the poorer neighborhoods of the city. Frankly, it 's just a reminder that nature will always overcome man when he attempts to use land never intended for use, yet man continues to rebuild and repair while spending billions of dollars in a hopeless and very expensive cause.
Today, however, New Orleans faces the potential for another disaster that, if the elements unfold just right, will make the stench and the pollution even much worse than what happened during Katrina. It's a slow moving disaster that is already underway and if the currently stormy weather low pressure system in the Gulf gathers steam as a tropical storm and then a hurricane, should it come ashore west of New Orleans moving slowly north, all bets are off.
This past winter and spring have seen some of the most devastating floods in the Upper Mississippi River Valley that we've ever seen and the heavy flooding of populated areas and farmland resulted in everything from broken sewer lines to chemical tanks to dead animal carcasses making their way into the river. The result has been a slow motion movement of the aftermath of this mixture making its way to the Mississippi Delta and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. There aren't too many stories about it yet but death and destruction are once again working their way against natural sea life including shellfish. Large numbers of dolphins have been found near shore in the throes of death, covered with scaly lesions because of the contents of the water and that water is just one storm away from impacted New Orleans and other low lying populated areas near the Gulf. The fishing industry is having a horrible year due to low catches. All of this tells us something is happening to the Gulf which is not good for anyone. So, if the storm ultimately becomes a slow moving hurricane, it will be named Barry and it will likely not be greater than a category one. But it will bring with it steady winds of over fifty miles per hour and communities to its east, like New Orleans, will face heavy rain of eight to twelve inches, some places as much as twenty and higher than normal tides which in some places will be three to six feet in a surge. This means that whatever rain falls into the soup bowl known as New Orleans will have nowhere to go and any spillage entering the city will fester into a steaming brew of putrid water which is a breeding ground for disease.
I, for one, will pray that it is not as serious as it could be but I'll also pray that man learns from this situation and arrives at a very simple and common sense-based conclusion: if you build a city in a soup bowl, it will end up full of soup and it's not a type of soup that you want to live in. And that, my friends, is just the truth. God help the people who might potentially face this onslaught and may He guide man to making better decisions with his divine guidance leading the way.